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PREFACE

This is the second revised experimental manual for a product which is manufactured and fully
supported in all respects. Nucleonix Systems supplied instrumentation for studies in Physics
provides an experimental manual of this nature to enable university faculty to utilize the equipment
both for teaching and research labs.
Considerable efforts have been put in preparing the manuscript for this experimental manual.
Editors have gone through this and reviewed the manuscript thoroughly and made corrections.
However if there are any errors or omissions, you are requested to write to us.
There may be still scope to add a few experiments to this manual. We welcome feedback on
new additions to this, from professors and others from scientific community. We may include
such additional experiments in future editions, if found suitable.
This manual on 'Experiments with G.M. counter' has been written to include the important
information such as basic definitions on radiation units and fundamentals of Nuclear & Radiation
Physics, general information on G.M. Tubes and their characteristics, working principle and a
list of G.M. Detector experiments which illustrate some of the important fundamentals of Nuclear
Radiation & its characteristics.
There is also condensed information provided on various G.M. Counting System models
along with accessories, which will help in having better understanding while going through this
experimental manual. Of course, for more detailed information one can go through counting
system user manual, for operation and commands description.
Additionally, basic calculation procedure on activity and dose rate as on a given date by knowing
the activity on the date of manufacture of source are also given in this manual.
Apart from understanding the Physics principles by doing these experiments, one will also know
that there are quite a few Engineering and Industrial applications where nuclear techniques are
employed using nuclear radiation detectors such as G.M. Detectors and NaI Scintillation
detectors. Typically applications are given below :
(i)
(ii)

Nucleonix level gauging in steel and cement Industries using G.M. detector and a radiation
source.
Gamma column scanning in petrochemical industries using NaI Scintillation detector based
system and other applications include detection of Liquid fill, height for beverages, soups,
pharmaceutical products, baby foods, Match boxes, yogurt cartons etc, for sorting or
counting items, in a process or pharmaceutical industry.

Two experiments Sl.No. C(9) and (10) included in this manual illustrate engineering and industrial
applications.
These experiments Sl.No. (9) and (10) when demonstrated to Engineering students will illustrate
the possible real time applications and scope of nuclear techniques for industrial and engineering
applications.
These experiments will be of interest to Engineering stream students in their Engineering Physics/
Instrumentation labs. It may be noted that some of NITs, IITs and Technological universities have
included G.M. counter experiments, in Engineering physics labs. Editorial board is of the
opinion that when these physics experiments are done for Engineering streams, emphasis should
be with Engineering applications to the particular branch/ stream, so that the student appreciates
and understands the application well.
In this second revised edition two new experiments Sl.No (6) and (7) have been added which
are primarily to cover Backscattering of Beta particles and Production and Attenuation of
Bremsstrahlung.
We also thank all our staff at NUCLEONIX SYSTEMS who have helped us in preparing this
manuscript for releasing to Press.
Finally, Editors will be happy if this manual has served the purpose for which it is written. Efforts
will go on continuously to improve on this in the next edition. Suggestions and feedback are
welcome from all concerned with this subject.

J. Narender Reddy
Dr. M.S.R. Murty
Editors

EQUIPMENTS REQUIRED FOR DOING THE EXPERIMENTS:


(Most of these items mentioned below are manufactured and or supplied by
NUCLEONIX SYSTEMS)
EQUIPMENT / SYSTEM:

TYPE

1.

Geiger Counting System

GC601A (or) GC602A

2.

End Window G.M.Tube (Halogen Quenched)


in cylindrical PVC enclosure

GM120 & GM125

3.

G.M. Detector (End window) stand.


(or)
Sliding bench for G.M experiments

SG200

a) Radioactive Source Kit [containing one Beta Source


(Tl-204) & one Gamma Source (Cs-137) ]

SK210

4.
5.

b) Another Beta Source

SB201

Sr-90

6.

Lead Shielding (Optional)

LS240

7.

Aluminium Absorber Set

AA270

8.

Absorber Set (for scattering of Beta particles experiments)

9.

Absorber Set (for production and attenuation Bremsstrahlung experiment) AS273

AS272

10. Cs-137/Ba-137m isotope generator or Indium foil and Neutron Howitzer (for generating
short lived isotope)

Note : Item No. (10) is not offered by Nucleonix systems.

CONTENTS
DESCRIPTION
A

PAGE NO.

GENERAL
(i)

General Information on Geiger-Muller Tubes.

01-05

(ii)

Important definitions

06-08

(iii) Description on G.M counting system GC601A / GC602A

09-12

(iv)

13-14

Activity & Dose rate calculations procedure

EXPERIMENTS ILLUSTRATING PRINCIPLES OF NUCLEAR PHYSICS

1.

Study of the characteristics of a GM tube and determination


of its operating voltage, plateau length / slope etc

15-17

2.

Verification of Inverse Square Law for - rays

18-21

3.

Study of nuclear counting statistics

22-29

4.

Estimation of Efficiency of the G.M. detector for


(a) Gamma source & (b) Beta Source

30-32

5.

To Study Beta Particle Range and Maximum Energy (Feather Analysis)

33-37

6.

Backscattering of Beta particles

38-40

7.

Production and Attenuation of Bremsstrahlung

41-42

8.

Measurement of short half-life

43-45

EXPERIMENTS ILLUSTRATING APPLICATIONS OF RADIO NUCLIDES


(Additional experiments recommended for Engineering stream (B.E. / B.Tech.)
for Physics, Engineering Physics, Instrumentation Labs / General physics labs
in 1st year)

9.

Demonstration of Nucleonic level gauge principle using


G.M Counting System & Detector

10. Beam interruption detection system to check packs for content level, or
counting of individual items.

46-47

48-49

A.

GENERAL INFORMATION

GENERAL INFORMATION ON GEIGER - MULLER TUBES


Geiger-Muller radiation counter tubes (G.M.Tubes) are intended to detect alpha particles, beta
particles, gamma or X-radiation.
A G.M. tube is a gas-filled device which reacts to individual ionizing events, thus enabling them
to be counted.
A G.M. Tube consists of basically an electrode at a positive potential (anode) surrounded by a
metal cylinder at a negative potential (cathode). The cathode forms part of the envelope or is
enclosed in a glass envelope. Ionizing events are initiated by quanta or particles, entering the
tube either through the window or through the cathode and colliding with the gas molecules.
The gas filling consists of a mixture of one or more rare gases and a quenching agent.
Quenching is the termination of the ionization current pulse in a G.M.tube. Effective quenching in
G.M. Tube is determined by the combination of the quenching gas properties and the value of
the anode resistor.

The capacitance of a G.M. Tube is that between anode and cathode, ignoring the
capacitive effects of general connections.

OPERATING CHARACTERISTICS:

Starting Voltage (Vs):


This is the lowest voltage applied to a G.M. Tube at which pulses just appear across the
anode resistor (see Fig. 4) and unit starts counting.

Plateau:
This is the section of the GM characteristic curve constructed with counting rate versus
applied voltage (With constant irradiation) over which the counting rate is substantially
independent of the applied voltage. Unless otherwise stated, the plateau is measured at a
counting rate of a approximately 100 counts.

Plateau threshold voltage (V1) :


This is the lowest applied voltage which corresponds to the start of the plateau for the stated
sensitivity of the measuring circuit. See Fig. 4.

Plateau length :
This is the range of applied voltage over which the plateau region extends. See Fig. 4.

Upper Threshold voltage (V2) :


This is the higher voltage upto which plateau extends, beyond which count rate increases
with increase in applied voltage.

Plateau Slope:
This is the change in counting rate over the plateau length, expressed in % per volt See Fig.
4.

Recommended Supply Voltage : (Operating Voltage)


This is the supply voltage at which the G.M.Tube should preferably be used. This voltage is
normally chosen to be in the middle of the plateau. See Fig.4.

Background : (BG)
This is the counting rate measured in the absence of the radiation source. The BG is due to
cosmic rays and any active sources in the experimental room.

NOTES :
Dead Time (Td):
This is the time interval, after the initiation of a discharge resulting in a normal pulse, during
which the G.M.Tube is insensitive to further ionizing events. See Fig.5.

Resolution (resolving) time (TR)


This is the minimum time interval between two distinct ionizing events which enables both
to be counted independently or separately. See Fig.5.

Recovery Time (Tre):


This is the minimum time interval between the initiation of a normal size pulse and the
initiation of the next pulse of normal size. See Fig.5.

Anode resistor :
Normally the tube should be operated with an anode resistor of the value indicated in the
measuring circuit, or higher. Decreasing the value of the anode resistor not only decreases
the dead time but also the plateau length. A decrease in resistance below the limiting value
may affect tube life and lead to its early destruction.
The anode resistor should be connected directly to the anode connector of the tube to
ensure that parasitic capacitances of leads will not excessively increase the capacitive
load on the tube. An increase in capacitive load may increase the pulse amplitude, the
pulse duration, the dead time and plateau slope. In addition the plateau will be shortened
appreciably. Shunt capacitances as high as 20 pF may destroy the tube, but lower values
are also dangerous.

Maximum Counting Rate :


The Maximum counting rate is approximately 1/Td (Td = dead time). For continuous stable
operation, it is recommended that the counting rate is adjusted to a value in the linear part
of the counting rate/dose rate curve.

Tube sensitivity at extremely high dose rates :


At dose rates exceeding the recommended maximum, a G.M.Tube will produce the maximum
number of counting pulses per second, limited by its dead time and the circuit in which it is
incorporated.
However, due to the characteristics of a specific circuit, the indicated counting rate may fall
appreciably, even to zero.
If dose rates exceeding 10 times the recommended maximum for window tubes, or 100
times for cylinder tubes, are likely to be encountered, it is advisable to use a circuit that
continuously indicates saturation.

Dead Time Losses :


After every pulse, the tube is temporarily insensitive during a period known as the dead
time (Td). Consequently, the pulses that occur during this period are not counted. At a
counting rate of N count/s the tube will be dead during NxTd of the time, so that approximately
NxNxTd of the counts will be lost.
In an experiment if the inaccuracy in counts due to dead time must be <1%, N should be
less than 1/100 Td counts. Example: If Td= 20m sec, an inaccuracy of 1% is reached at a
counting rate of approximately 500 counts/sec.

Background:
The most important sources of background count are:
a. Gamma radiation from the environment and from cosmic radiation.
b. Mesons from cosmic radiation
c. Beta particles from contamination and impurities of the materials from which the detector
itself is made.
d. Spontaneous discharge or pulses in the detector and the counting circuit that do not
originate from radiation (Electronic noise).
From published experimental data, the gamma contribution accounts for approximately
70% of the background and a further 25% (approximately) is due to cosmic mesons. For
the majority of G.M. tube applications, the background may be reduced to an acceptable
level by shielding the tube with lead or steel. Thus most of the gamma contribution is
eliminated. The values given in the data in count per minute are derived from averages over
a long duration.

LIFE:

Storage life:
If stored in a cool dry place, free form continuous or severe vibration, there is hardly any
deterioration in the tube's characteristics. A storage life of years is not unusual.

Warning:
Generally, life end of a G.M. tube is indicated by an increasing slope and a shorter plateau.
For older tubes, operation is recommended at the first third of the plateau.

Operational life:
The operational life of a G.M. Tube is expressed in counts (discharge). Theoretically the
quenching gas, ionized during a discharge, should be re-combined between discharges.
However, minute quantities will be chemically bound, no longer taking part in the quenching
process. This will lead to a gradual reduction of the plateau length and for a given working
voltage to an increased counting rate. This will culminate in a continuous state of discharge
of the tube rendering it useless.
Apart from the accumulated number of counts registered the ambient temperature during
o
operation is of prime importance to the life of the tube. At temperature above 50 C, changes
in the gas mixture may occur, possibly reducing the total number of counts attainable. Short
o
periods of operation (not exceeding 1h) up to approximately 70 C should not prove harmful,
but life will progressively decrease with increasing temperature.
Thus, depending on application and circumstances, the quenching gas could be exhausted
in as little as a few hours or theoretically last for many years.
For these reasons G.M. Tubes cannot be guaranteed unconditionally for a specified period
of time.

IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS

Absorbed dose : The energy transferred to a material by ionising radiation per unit mass
of the material.
Unit : J kg-1; Name of unit : Gray (see also Rad)

Activity : Measurement of quantity of radioactive material. It is the number of nuclear


transformations or isomeric transitions per unit time.
Unit : s-1 Name of unit : Becquerel (see also Curie)

Alpha decay : Alpha particles consist of two protons and two neutrons bound together
into a particle identical to a helium nucleus. They are generally produced in the process of
alpha decay, but may also be produced in other ways. Alpha particles are named after the
first letter in the Greek alphabet, .
A radioactive conversion accompanied by the emission of an alpha particle. In alpha decay
the atomic number is reduced by 2 and the mass number by 4. Alpha decay occurs, with a
few exceptions, only for nuclides with a proton number exceeding 82.

Alpha radiation : Radiation that consists of high energy helium (4He) nuclei emitted during
alpha disintegration of atomic nuclei. Alpha particles possess discrete initial energies (line
spectra) which are characteristic of the emitting nuclide.

Becquerel (Bq) : Name of the derived SI unit of activity. Number of radioactive


transformations or isomeric transitions per second (S-1) = Bq.
1 Bq
1 KBq
1 MBq
1 GBq
1 TBq

=
=
=
=
=

27 pCi
27 nCi
27 Ci
27 mCi
27 Ci

Beta decay : Radioactive conversion accompanied by the emission of a beta particle, i.e.
a negatively charged electron (- decay) or a positively charged electron (+ decay). When
a negatively charged electron is emitted, a neutron in the atomic nucleus is converted to a
proton with the simultaneous emission of an antineutrino, so that the proton number Z is
increased by 1. When a positively charged electron (positron) is emitted, a proton in the
nucleus is converted to a neutron with simultaneous emission of a neutrino, so that the
proton number Z is decreased by 1.

Beta Radiation : Radiation that consists of negative or positive electrons which are emitted
from nuclei undergoing decay. Since the decay energy (or, if it is followed by gamma radiation,
the decay energy less that photons energy) is statistically divided between beta particles
and neutrinos (or antineutrinos), the energy spectrum of beta radiation is continuous,
extending from zero to a maximum value characteristic of the nuclide concerned. The
maximum beta energy is generally termed the beta end-point energy of the nuclide.
6

Bremsstrahlung : Radiation that results from the acceleration/deceleration of charged


particles in the Coulomb field of atoms.
Curie (Ci) : Name for derived unit of activity. One Curie corresponds to 3.7 x 1010 nuclear
disintegrations or isomeric transitions per second 1 Ci = 3.7 x 1010 s-1.
1 Ci
1 mCi
1 Ci
1 nCi
1 pCi

=
=
=
=
=

37 GBq
37 MBq
37 kBq
37 Bq
37 mBq

Dose : See absorbed dose, exposure value, and dose equivalent

Dose equivalent : A term used in radiation protection for the radiation dose. It is the product
of absorbed dose times the quality factor.
Unit : J kg-1; Name of unit: Sievert (see also Rem)

Dose rate : Dose absorbed per unit time

Electron radiation: Particle emission consisting of negatively or positively charged


electrons.

Exposure dose: The ratio of the amount of electric charge of the ions of one polarity that
are formed in air by ionising radiation and the mass of the air.
Unit : C. kg-1 (see also Roentgen)

Gamma radiation: Photon radiation emitted by an excited atomic nucleus decaying to a


lower energy state. Gamma radiation has a line spectrum with photon energies which are
specific to the nuclide concerned. Gamma and X-rays are both electromagnetic radiations
and they are distinguished only by their mode of generation.

Gray: Name of the derived SI unit of absorbed dose. 1 Gy = 1J.kg-1

Half-thickness: The thickness of material layer that reduces the intensity of initial radiation
by a factor of two.

Ionising radiation: Radiation that consists of particles capable of ionising a gas.

Isotopes: Nuclides with the same atomic number but different atomic weights (Mass
numbers).

Mass per unit area: Product of the density of a material and its thickness.

Nuclide : Generic term for neutral atoms that are characterized by a specific number of
neutrons N and protons Z in the nucleus.

Quality factor : A factor which in radiation, protection allows for the effects of different
types of radiations and energies on people.

Rad : Name for a unit of absorbed dose


1 rad = 10-2 J. kg-1 = 10-2 Gy

Radioactivity : The property which certain nuclides have of emitting radiation as a result of
spontaneous transitions in their nuclei.

Rem (rem) : (Roentgen equivalent man). Name for a derived unit of dose equivalent; a
measure of the biological effect of radiation.
1 rem = 10-2 J. kg-1 = 10 mSv

Roentgen (R) : Name for a derived unit of exposure dose.


1R = 2.58 x 10-4 C. kg-1

Sievert (Sv) : The SI unit of dose equivalent 1 Sv = 1 J. kg-1

DESCRIPTION ON G.M COUNTING SYSTEM GC601A/GC602A


Nucleonix systems offers two models of G.M. Counting Systems. One an economy model GC601A
with optimal features and the other GC602A with more advance features. The following
paragraphs illustrate important features of both models with front & rear panel photographs.
Geiger Counting System, type GC601A is an Advanced Technology based, economy model,
designed around eight bit microcontroller chip. This system with accessories is an ideal choice
for teaching / demonstrating various G.M. Experiments, as a part of Experimental Physics lab to
U.G., P.G. Science and U.G. Engineering students. Other streams such as Radiation Physics,
Radiochemistry, Radiation Biology and Agricultural Sciences can also use this system.
This counting system can be used for carrying out a number of Nuclear Physics experiments.

Fig : G.M. Counting System GC601A Front & Rear panel view
Geiger Counting system type GC602A is an Advanced Technology based versatile integral
counting system designed around eight bit microcontroller chip. This system is highly
recommended for research work, apart from its usefulness in the academic fields for teaching.
This system along with wide end window G.M. Tube Type GM125 and Lead Castle will serve as
an excellent Beta Counting System useful for swipe sample counting by Health Physics Labs.
This counting system is useful for carrying out a number of Nuclear Physics experiments.

Fig : G.M. Counting System GC602A Front & Rear panel view

Important features in the two models are given below.


o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

High voltage output : (0 to 1500V) @ 2mA, ripple less than 20mV.


Visual display :16x2 LCD dotmatrix character display indicates HV, preset time, Time
counts, and other parameters.
Counts capacity : 999999 counts.
Preset time : (1-9999) sec
User interface : Through front panel keypad . Command buttons provided are START,
STOP, PROG, STORE, INC () & DEC ()
G.M. pulse output : G.M. detector output is provided on the rear panel BNC Socket (Inverted
output).
Power : Unit works on 220V + 10% A.C., 50Hz.
Memory storage : Built-in memory to store data readings upto 1000.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES AVAILABLE ON GC602A ONLY :


o Printer port (centronics) : For data printing is built-in.
o Paralysis time : Variable paralysis time OFF, 250, 350 & 550 sec
o RS232C : Serial port for data communication to PC is built-in.

ACCESSORIES FOR GEIGER COUNTING SYSTEM :


GM 120 is a Halogen Quenched End Window GM Detector,
supplied by NUCLEONIX. It is suitable for general purpose GM
Counting applications & all G.M. Experiments. Its operating voltage
is approximately 500V. It has got a very wide plateau length and
plateau slope is better than 6% per 100V. This detector is supplied
in a cylindrical PVC enclosure with MHV socket arrangement for
applying HV bias voltage.
Application : Suitable for Beta & Gamma Counting.
Operating Voltage :
Range : 450 - 600V
Tube Dimensions : Max. over all length 2.125 inches.
PVC Enclosure dimensions : 25mm dia x 77mm Ht.
Max. Diameter : 0.59 inches
Gas filled : Ne + Hal
End Window : mica 2.0 mg/cm sq. (Areal density)

10

STAND FOR G.M. DETECTOR [TYPE : SG200]


Stand for G.M. tube type SG 200 has been designed to hold PVC
enclosed End Window G.M. tube, as shown in picture. This stand
can be housed inside the lead shielding if required. It has both
sample and absorber trays. The position of these trays can be
adjusted from the end window of the detector. The stand made up
of acrylic sheet is precisely milled for sliding-in of sample and
absorber trays. Sample tray is designed to hold planchets or disc
type radioactive standard source (Beta or Gamma). Aluminium
absorber discs can be interposed between the source and the
detector for attenuating the radiation as seen by the detector.
Captive screw holds the detector PVC tube to any height. To
increase the distance between end window & source one can lift
the PVC tube further up which can be held by captive screw.

SLIDING BENCH FOR G.M. EXPERIMENTS [TYE : SB201]


This essentially consists of a bench with sliding groves with a graduated S.S scale fixed on one
side of it. Scale has graduations both in cm & inches upto 50cm/20 inches. There are three
vertical sliding mounts, each for mounting of End Window G.M detector horizontally facing the
absorber & source mounts. Each of these mounts can be positioned along the slide scale to
have required distance between the end window to the source with absorber mount interposed
in between. End Window detector is housed in PVC enclosure with MHV socket fixed on to it.

Sliding bench for G.M. Experiments

SOURCE KIT - 1 [TYPE : SK210]


Source Kit-1 type SK 210 offered by NUCLEONIX contains one
each of Beta and Gamma sources. These are low active disc
sources of the order of 0.2 to 3 micro curie for Beta & Gamma.
Gamma source disc is evaporated and sealed inside 25mm dia
X 5mm thick plastic disc. Whereas Beta source disc is evaporated
& sealed in a 25mm X 10mm thick plastic disc and covered with
10mg/ sq.cm aluminised mylar foil.
11

ALUMINIMUM ABSORBER SET [TYPE: AA 270]


Aluminimum Absorber Set Type : AA 270 consists of absorber
discs in different thicknesses ranging from 20 to 300 mg/cm.sq.
Each of these absorbers is mounted in an individual plastic frame,
which exactly fits into the absorber tray holder of the G.M. stand/
G.M.sliding bench.
The diameter of each disc is approximately 50 mm including the
frame. There is identification number for each disc printed on it.
All these discs are housed in this acrylic box. This absorber set
will be useful in studying the Beta absorption coefficient using G.M.
Counting systems.

LEAD CASTLE [TYPE: LS240]


The Lead Castle is designed to shield the G.M. Counters from
counting background radiation. Lead Castle type LS 240 can
house G.M. counter mounted in a G.M stand. This shield is of 40
mm thickness and is built up of six interlocking rings. The top and
bottom are covered by similar interlocking discs. A door is fitted in
the bottom ring with 150 degree opening to facilitate easy access
to the sample holding tray of G.M. Stand. The door is fitted with
heavy duty hinges and the inside of the lead shield is lined with
thin aluminium sheet to minimize scattering.

ABSORBER/SCATTERER SET [TYPE : AS 272] (For Scattering of Beta Particles Experiment)

Description : The absorber/scatterer set consists of 15 Aluminium foils, the thickness of each
foil being 0.05 mm. For increasing the thickness of the scatterer, the required number of
aluminium foils are to be stacked together and put in the frame provided.
ABSORBER SET [TYPE: AS 273] (For Production and Attenuation of Bremsstrahlung
Experiment)
Description : The absorber set consists of the following combination of materials:
Aluminium (0.7 mm thickness) & Perspex (1.8 mm thickness)
Perspex (1.8 mm thickness) & Copper (0.3 mm thickness)
Aluminium (0.7 mm thickness) & Copper (0.3 mm thickness)
12

ACTIVITY & DOSERATE CALCULATION PROCEDURE


a. Activity calculation (as on date)
It is known that, given the activity at any previous date and by knowing its half-life, we can calculate
the present activity by using the following equation
A

=
=

A0 e-t
A0 e-(0.693/ T1/2) t

A
A0
T1/2
t

=
=
=
=
=

Present activity
Activity as on previous date
Half life of source
Elapsed time
Decay constant

Where,

TYPICAL CALCULATION OF ACTIVITY FOR TWO BETA AND TWO GAMMA SOURCES:
BETA SOURCES:
Sr-90: (3.7 KBq, Oct 2006); Half life for Sr-90 is T1/2 = 28.5Yrs
Activity (A0) =
3.7 KBq, as on Oct'06.
=
3700 Bq
(Elapsed time till Sept'07= 11months)
Present activity (A) =
T1/2 =
t
=
=
=

A0 e-(0.693/ T1/2) t ; as on Sept'07


28.5yr
11/12=0.9166yr
3700 e-(0.693/ 28.5) 0.9166
3618.6 Bq

Tl-204: (11.1 KBq, Oct 2006); Half life for Tl-204 is T1/2 = 4Yrs
Activity (A0) =
11.1 KBq, as on Oct'06.
=
11100 Bq
(Elapsed time till Sept'07= 11months)
Present activity (A) =
T1/2 =
t
=
=
=

A0 e-(0.693/ T1/2) t ; as on Sept'07


4yr
11/12=0.9166yr
11100 e -(0.693/ 4) 0.9166
9469.41 Bq

13

GAMMA SOURCES:
Cs-137: (3.1Ci, July'07) ; Half life for Cs-137 is T1/2 = 30Yrs
Activity (A0)

=
3.1Ci, as on Oct'06.
=
3.1X3.7X1010X10-6
=
114700 Bq
(Elapsed time till Sept'07= 2months)

Present activity (A) =


T1/2 =
t
=
=
=

A0 e-(0.693/ T1/2) t; as on Sept'07


30yr
2/12=0.1666yr
114700 e-(0.693/ 30) 0.1666
114264.14 Bq

Co-60: (3.7Ci, July'07) ; Half life for Co-60 is T1/2 = 5.3Yrs


Activity (A0)

=
3.7Ci, as on Oct'06.
=
3.7X3.7X1010X10-6
=
136900 Bq
(Elapsed time till Sept'07= 2months)

Present activity (A) =


T1/2 =
t
=
=
=

A0 e-(0.693/ T1/2) t; as on Sept'07


5.3yr
2/12=0.1666yr
136900 e-(0.693/ 5.3) 0.1666
133961.2 Bq

b. DOSE RATE CALCULATION


Dose rate can be calculated by using the following formula
Source Activity x gamma constant
Dose rate = ___________________________
(Distance)2
where
Dose rate is in mR (milli Roentgen)
Source Activity is in mCi (milli Curies)
Distance is in cm (Centimeters)
Gamma constant for Cs-137 is 3300
and gamma constant for Co-60 is 13200

14

B. EXPERIMENTS ILLUSTRATING THE PRINCIPLES OF NUCLEAR


PHYSICS
Exp: 1. STUDY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GM TUBE

1.1 PURPOSE
To study the variations of countrate with applied voltage and thereby determine the plateau,
the operating voltage and the slope of the plateau.
1.2 EQUIPMENT / ACCESSORIES REQUIRED

G.M. Counting System GC601A / GC602A with A.C. main chord.

G.M Detector (End window) stand (or) G.M Detector/source holder bench (optical
bench).

G.M. Detector (in PVC cylindrical enclosure) with connecting cable.


1.3 PROCEDURE

Make the connection between counting system to G.M. Detector by MHV to UHF coaxial cable. Also connect the mains chord from the counting system to 230V A.C.
Power (refer to Fig.1).

Place a Gamma or Beta source facing the end window of the detector, in the source
holder of G.M. stand or optical bench at about 2 cms (for Gamma source) or 4 cms
(for Beta source) approximately, from the end window of the detector. (For Beta
source ensure that countrate is less than 200 CPS at 500V)

Now power up the unit and select menu options to PROGRAM on the keypad of the
G.M. Counting System and select 30sec preset time typically (It can be in the range
of 30 to 60 sec.) [ For all command button functions, refer to G.M. Counting System
GC601A / GC602A user manual. ]

Now press - START button to record the counts and gradually increase the HV by
rotating the HV knob till such time, the unit just starts counting. Now, press STOP
button.

Now take a fresh reading at this point (STARTING VOLTAGE) and record the
observations in the format as given in Table 1.

Also record for each HV setting, corresponding background counts without keeping
the source.

Continue to take these readings in steps of 30V and for the same preset time, keep
observing counts & tabulate the data, with and without source.

Initially within 2 to 3 readings, counts will steeply increase and thereafter remain
constant with marginal increase (may be within 10%). After few readings, one will
find a steep increase as one enters the discharge region. Take just one or two
readings in this region and reduce the HV bias to 0 volts. It is important to note that
operating the G.M detector in discharge region for longer time can reduce the life of
tube or can result into permanent damage of the detector.
15

Now tabulate the readings and plot a graph of voltage against counts (corrected
counts). This graph should look as shown in Fig. 6.
Identify from the graph / tabulated data
i) Starting Voltage
ii) Lower threshold voltage (V1)
iii) Upper threshold voltage (V2). It is called Breakdown threshold voltage
iv) Discharge region.
Calculate plateau, percentage slope, and plateau length, operating voltage,
etc.

Table - 1 : G.M. Characteristics Data

S.No.

EHT
(Volts)

Counts
30 sec
N

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

330
360 (V1)
390
420
450
480
510
540
570 (V2)
600
630

0
1710
1728
1743
1784
1792
1802
1818
1821
2607
3475

Background Counts
30 sec
Nb

Corrected Counts
Nc = (N-Nb)
30 sec

0
35
35
35
36
36
37
39
40
76
76

1.4 ANAYSIS & COMPUTATIONS


Estimate from the tabulated readings

V1 = Starting voltage of plateau


(Just after rising edge of knee)

= 360 V

V2 = Upper threshold of the plateau = 570 V


(Just before the start of discharge region)

Plateau length VPL = V2 - V1 = (570-360) = 210 V

(V2 + V1)
(570+360)
Operating voltage V0 = ________ = ________ = 465 V
2
2

16

0
1675(N1)
1693
1708
1748
1756
1765
1779
1781 (N2)
2531
3399

The slope of the plateau is given by


N2 - N1
100
Slope (Percentage) = ______ X ______ X 100
N1
(V2- V1)
(1781 - 1677)
= __________ X
1677

100
________
X 100 = 2.95 %
(570 - 360)

Where N1 and N2 are the count rates at the lower and the upper limits of the plateau and
V1 and V2 are the corresponding voltages.
Slope less than 10% is desirable.
G.M Characteristics
4000

3500

3000

Counts / 30 sec

2500

2000

1500

1000

500

0
330

360

390

420

450

480

510

540

570

600

630

EHT

Fig. 6 : Plot of counts Vs EHT


1.5 CONCLUSIONS

From the plateau, it can be noticed that mid point of the characteristics of the GM
tube is defined as operating voltage and is to be used for counting applications. The
tube is operated at this voltage when used in Radiation Monitors for measurements.

Repeat the experiment with Beta source by keeping the source slightly away from
the end window when compared to gamma source and tabulate the data. Calculate
slope, plateau length etc. From this, one could notice that with Beta source, the efficiency of the detector increases. Also one can notice that with higher count rates,
plateau slope increases.

17

Exp: 2. INVERSE SQUARE LAW: Gamma Rays


2.1 PURPOSE
The Inverse Square Law is an important concept to be understood. It states that intensity
of gamma radiation falls inversely as square of the distance.
2.2 EQUIPMENT / ACCESSORIES REQUIRED

G.M. Counting System GC601A / GC602A with A.C. main chord.

G.M Detector (End window) stand (or) G.M Detector/source holder bench

G.M. Detector (in PVC cylindrical enclosure), with connecting cable.

A gamma source

Fig. 7 : Detector, G.M. stand / holder and source arrangement


2.3 PROCEDURE

Make detector-source arrangement as shown in the (Fig.7) and powerup the unit.

Without source, make few (about 5 readings) background measurements and take
an average of them for a preset time of say 60 sec.
Compute Average background counts in 60sec Ba = (b1+b2+b3+b4+b5) / 5.
Compute Background rate = Ba/t (t = 60sec)

Place a gamma source in the source holder and adjust the distance (d) from the
detector end window to be 2 cm away from the centre of the source holder.

If you have an End window detector stand, keep the source holder in the 1st slot &
raise the end window detector enclosed in a cylindrical shell by unscrewing the captive
screw such that you get 2 cm distance from the end window to 1st slot as shown in
Fig.7.

Set the HV to Operating Voltage (say 500 V), program 'preset time' to 60 sec and
record the data counts by pressing 'START' button.

Increase the Distance (d) in steps of 0.5cm (5mm) and for each step record the
observations and tabulate (table 2) the data as given below till you reach a distance
of 8 to 10 cms from the detector face.

Subtract the background counts from the recorded counts which results in corrected
counts (N) in 60sec. From this obtain Net Count Rate (R) per sec.
18

2.4 COMPUTATION & ANALYSIS

(a)

Compute and tabulate 'Net count rate' (R), 'Distance' (d), product of (C=R.d2),
transformation (1/d2) etc. as shown in table. (2)
Plot a graph of Net count rate (R) Vs. distance (d) in cm. (Fig 8)
Table (2) : Data for Inverse Square Law Experiment
Distance in
S.No.
cm (d)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
5.0
5.5
6.0
6.5
7.0

Corrected
Counts N
in 60sec.

Net Count
Rate
R in 1 sec.

Product
C=R.d2

13440
9216
6133
4663
3525
2750
2125
1768
1469
1194
1002

224.0
153.4
102.2
77.38
58.75
45.83
35.42
29.46
24.83
19.90
16.60

896
954
920
952
940
929
886
891
882
840
851

Transformation
1/d2 in 1/m2
2500
1600
1111
816
625
493
400
330
278
236
204

If the count rate obeys the inverse square law, it can be easily be shown that the product
R.d2 is a constant. The results of the product (R.d2) are shown in the table above; allowing
for statistical fluctuations, the results obey this law, with a mean value of C = 904. The
observed net count rate as a function of distance is given by
904
Rd = ____
d2
(b)

An alternative analysis method involves transforming the data so that the results lie on a
straight line. For this purpose Net Count Rate (R) Vs. Reciprocal of the distance square
(1/d2) are plotted (refer to Fig.9). This will be a straight line passing through the origin (0, 0)
as this point corresponds to a source-detector distance of infinity. Gradient can be estimated
easily from the net count rate (R) corresponding to a value of (1/d2) of 400 m2.
In this example: c = 886 which is in agreement with the results of the previous method at
5cm.

C = Rd2 = 35.42 x 25 = 886

19

Fig (8). Plot of Net Count Rate (R) Vs Distance (d)

Fig (9). Plot of Net Count Rate (R) Vs Inverse Square of Distance (d)

20

Fig (10). Plot of Log R Vs Log d

(c)

Another way of data analysis is by plotting these values on a log log graph sheet or compute log values & plot them on a linear graph sheet (log R Vs. log d) as shown in fig.(10) .
Table (2.b): Table with Log R & Log d values computed
S.No.

d (cms)

Log d

Log R

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
5.0
5.5
6.0
6.5
7.0

0.3010
0.3979
0.4770
0.5440
0.6020
0.6532
0.6989
0.7403
0.77815
0.8125
0.8450

224
153.4
102.2
77.38
58.75
45.833
35.416
29.466
24.483
19.9
18.2

2.3502
2.1858
2.0094
1.8886
1.7690
1.6611
1.5491
1.4693
1.3888
1.2988
1.27646

Draw a line through the data points. If this is a straight line with a gradient of 2, then it
proves that Inverse Square Law is obeyed.

Gradient

log R (d2) - log R (d1)


= - _________________ =
log d2 - log d1
= - 2.07

21

1.5491-2.0094
___________
0.6989-0.4770

Exp: 3. STUDY OF NUCLEAR COUNTING STATISTICS


3.1 INTRODUCTION
Systematic errors control the accuracy of a measurement. Thus, if the systematic errors
are small, or if you can mathematically correct for them, then you will obtain an accurate
estimate of the true value. The precision of the experiment, on the other hand, is related
to random errors. The precision of a measurement is directly related to the uncertainty in
the measurement.
Random errors are the statistical fluctuations during a measurement. If these values are
too close to each other, then the random errors are small. But, if the values are not too
close, then random errors are large. Thus, random errors are related to the reproducibility
of a measurement.
3.2 STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF DATA
To minimize these errors, one should have good understanding on Statistical analysis of
data.
3.3. DEFINITIONS

Mean : Mean is the average value of a set of (n) measurements in an experiment.


Mathematically it is defined as
__
N =

1
= __
n

N
+N2 + N3 + +Nn
1
______________________
n
n

i=1

Ni

Mean, is also called as average value.

Deviation : Deviation is the difference between the actual measured values and the
average value. Deviation from the mean, di is simply the difference between any
data point Ni, and the mean. We define this by
__
di = Ni - N
When we try to look at the error or average deviation, the value probably will become
zero because, we may have both positive and negative values which get cancelled.
Yet an average value of the error will be desirable, since it tells us how good the data
is in a quantitative way. Therefore we need a different way to obtain the measure of
the scatter of the data.

22

Variance (2) & Standard Deviation () :


One way is to obtain standard deviation () which is defined as
2

d1 + d2 + +dn
= __________________
(n -1)

n
2
1
= _____ di
(n - 1) i=1
From this = (2) , we see no negative sign and indicates average error contribution.
We find that all the deviations make a contribution. We call the term 2 as variance.
Standard deviation is a square root of the variance, which is widely used to indicate
about the spread of our data.
1 n
2 = __ di2 (for large samples)
n i=1
The definition of the standard deviation differs slightly for small samples. It is defined
as follows:
n
1
2 = ___ di2 (for small samples)
(n-1) i=1
3.4 MEASURING BACKGROUND RADIATION
In this section, several basic experiments are described to demonstrate the statistical
nature of radioactive processes. The importance of statistical methods in analyzing data
and estimating measurement uncertainties is also covered.
The G.M. detector registers pulses even when not exposed to radioactive sources. These
pulses are caused by natural and man-made radioactive isotopes found in our environment,
and also by cosmic radiation. The background radiation varies with time and depends on
the local environment, the building material, shielding and the weather. Hence, the
background count rate (counts per second) should be recorded before and after carrying
out measurements.
In the following discussion, the total number of counts recorded for a counting period will
be indicated by N (for countrate : N0) and background counts by B (background rate : B0).
The net count rate is given by NR = (N-B)/T (where T is the counting period in seconds).

23

3.5 EXPERIMENT (A)

Make standard set up by connecting G.M. Counting System GC 601A/602A with G.M.
Detector placed in the optical bench or G.M stand as shown in figure (2 or 3).

Remove the radioactive source from the source holder and set the preset time to 10 sec
and take a set of 100 readings and tabulate them as shown in table no. (3a).

Now plot a bar graph for number of counts registered versus the Index Number say for
group no. (1) as shown in fig 11.
Index No.
BG Counts/10 sec

1
6

2
6

3
3

4
5

5
10

6
6

7
3

8
13

9
6

10
11

Table 3.a : Background counts registered for 10 seconds.


Now repeat the experiment, to have large data counts. Store the data for 100 sec. & take
a set of ten such measurements as shown in table (3.b)
Plot these no. of counts Vs index no. as shown in fig (12)
Index No.
1
BG Counts/100 sec 69

2
63

3
68

4
62

5
63

6
61

7
66

8
70

9
61

10
67

Table 3.b : Background counts registered for 100 seconds.


By comparing these two figures (11&12) we can deduce one of the most important laws of
the measurement of radiation.
The spread in measured values decreases as the number of pulses registered
increases.
3.6 STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF RESULTS
We have already defined mean, variance and standard deviation at the beginning of this
chapter.
These parameters for the above set of tabulated background readings can be calculated
as follows :
Mean Value

_
: N

Variance

: 2 =

6.53

Standard Deviation

2.55

6.5

24

Fig (11) Plot of no. of pulses Vs. Index Number

Fig (12) Plot of no. of counts T = 100S for 10 measurements

Fig (13) Frequency distribution for 100 measurements of the back ground with T=10s
25

The sample variance is calculated with the divisor (n-1) to give an unbiased estimated
value for variance of the process.
3.7 INTERPRETATION OF THE RESULTS

The results follow a Poisson distribution on which practically all radioactivity measurements
are based. The results show that the mean value N is equal to the variance 2; this is
characteristic of the Poisson distribution.
The variance in any measured number of counts is therefore equal to the mean
value of counts.

The square root of variance, the standard deviation is a measure of the scatter of individual
counts around the mean value. As a thumb rule we can say that approximately 2/3 of the
results are within one standard deviation of the mean value i.e., within the interval [ (N-)
and (N+), where = N ]
Conversely, given the result from an individual measurement, the unknown 'true'
count lies within the interval [ N - N and N + N ] with a probability of
approximately 2/3.
The above measured results of mean, variance and standard deviation follow Poisson
distribution. Results show that the mean value (N) is almost equal to the variance (2 )
which is characteristic of the Poisson distribution.
The variance in any measured number of counts is therefore equal to the mean value of
counts.

26

3.8 EXPERIMENT (B)


To illustrate that for number of counts recorded being high, Poisson distribution follows
closely normal or Gaussian Distribution.
PROCEDURE

Make standard counting setup as shown in figure (1)

Place a Beta source about 2cm from the end window of the detector.

Record counts typically for a preset time of 25sec, and take 50 data readings.

Compute Mean, Deviation and Standard Deviation and tabulate the readings. Also
compute other values, as indicated in the table.

S.No.

Ni

(Ni -N)

N =

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

803
782
802
775
780
803
800
841
802
763
793
783
773
785
810
802
796
796
824
786
771
741
762
809
764

13
-8
12
-15
-10
13
10
51
12
-27
3
-7
-17
-5
20
12
6
6
34
-4
-19
-49
-28
19
-26

28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1

(Ni -N)/
(Ni -N)/
(Rounded off)
0.46
-0.25
0.42
-0.53
-0.35
0.46
0.35
1.81
0.42
-0.96
0.10
-0.24
-0.60
-0.17
0.71
0.42
0.21
0.20
1.20
-0.14
-0.68
-1.74
-0.99
0.67
-0.92

27

0.5
0
0.5
-0.5
-0.5
0.5
0.5
2
0.5
-1.0
0
0
-0.5
0
0.5
0.5
0
0
1.0
0
-0.5
-2
-1
0.5
-1

S.No.

Ni

(Ni -N)

N =

26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50

773
779
792
818
779
745
769
791
823
763
767
807
853
790
764
762
825
775
791
822
784
780
783
813
785

-17
-11
2
28
-11
-45
-21
1
33
-27
-23
17
63
0
-26
-28
35
-15
1
32
-6
-10
-7
23
-5

28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1
28.1

(Ni -N)/
(Ni -N)/
(Rounded off)
-0.60
-0.39
0.07
0.99
-0.39
-1.60
-0.74
0.03
1.17
-0.96
-0.82
0.60
2.24
0
-0.92
-0.99
1.24
-0.53
0.03
1.13
-0.21
-0.35
-0.24
0.82
-0.17

-0.5
-0.5
0
1
-0.5
-2
-0.5
0
1
-1
-1
0.5
2
0
-1
-1
1
-0.5
0
1
0
-0.5
0
1
0

The average count rate for 'n' independent measurements is given by


__
+ N2 + + Nn
1
N = N
_____________________
= 790
n
_
_
The deviation of an individual count from the mean is (Ni -N). From the definition N, it is
clear that
n
_
(Ni - N ) = 0
i=1
_
The Standard Deviation = N

28

3.9 EXERCISE
Make a plot of the frequency of rounded off events (Ni - N) Vs. the rounded off values.
Fig (14) Below shows ideal situation which is a Gaussian or Normal Distribution.

Fig (14). Plot of Frequency of Occurrence Vs Rounded of Values


Two important observations can be made at this point, about gaussian distribution & figure
obtained above.

The distribution is symmetric about the mean value.


Because the mean value is large, the adjacent values of the function are not greatly
different from each other. i.e., the distribution is slowly varying which is the expected
behavior of a normal distribution.

3.10 EXAMPLES

If a measurement of 10s duration yields 3 pulses, the result is correctly expressed as


N = 3 + 1.7 in 10s or Z = ( 0.3 + 0.17 ) 1/s as 3 = 1.7.

In experiment 1 in the first 10 measurements, i.e., after 100 s, 30 pulses were counted.
The result would be N = 30 + 5.5 in 100 s or Z = (0.30 + 0.055) 1/s.

After 100 measurements in Experiment 1, i.e., 1000 s, 286 pulses were counted.
The result would be N = 286 + 17 in 1000 s or Z = (0.286 + 0.017) 1/s.
If you compare the errors indicated for the count rate Z in the examples 1 and 3 you
can see that a counting period which is 100 times longer (or 100 measurements)
leads to a result where the measurement uncertainty is 10 times smaller. If the result
is divided by the count time T :
N
N
N
N
1
Z
___
+ ___ = ___ + ___ x ___ = Z + ___
T
T
T
T
T
T
The uncertainty in the count rate Z is therefore proportional to one over the square
root of the counting period T (or, equivalently, to the square root of the number of
readings taken)
29

Exp: 4. ESTIMATION OF EFFICIENCY OF THE G.M.DETECTOR


(A)

EXPERIMENT TO ESTIMATE EFFICIENCY FOR A GAMMA SOURCE

4.1 INTRODUCTION
By knowing the activity of a gamma source, it is possible to record counts with the source
for a known preset time & estimate the efficiency of the G.M. detector
4.2 EQUIPMENT / ACCESSORIES REQUIRED

G.M. Counting System GC 601A/ GC602A

G.M. Detector / source holder stand (SG200) or bench (SB201)

Radioactive source kit (SK210)

G.M. detector in cylindrical enclosure (GM120)

Necessary connecting cables


4.3 PROCEDURE

Make interconnections such as mains power cord to GC601A/602A unit and


connection between G.M. detector holder mount to rear panel of GC601/602, through
HV cable.

Place a gamma source in the source holder facing the end window detector. Typically
the distance between the source to end window of G.M. tube can be 10 cm.

Now record counts for about 100 sec both background and counts with source and
make the following calculations and analysis.
4.4 ANALYSIS AND COMPUTATIONS

Let 'D' be the distance from source to the end window.

Let 'd' is the diameter of the end window

Lt Ns = Counts recorded with source


Nb= Counts recorded due to background

Now make the following measurements


Background counts in 100 sec
(Average of three readings)
Distance from source holder to end window
Diameter of end window
No. of counts recorded in 100sec with the source

Nb = 71
D=10cm
d = 1.5cm
Ns = 432

From the above data, the net count rate recorded N = (Ns - Nb/100) cps = 3.61CPS

Fig. 15 : Detector source arrangement for efficiency calculation for a gamma source

30

Gamma source emits radiation isotropically in all directions (4 geometry). However


only fraction of it is received by the end window detector. This fraction is given by

(___
d2)
4
____
4D2

d2
____
16D2

The present activity (A) of the gamma source used for this experiment is 111 KBQ.
This gamma source is radiating isotropically in all directions. A fraction of this only is
entering the G.M. Tube, which is given by
d2
R = A x ____2 = 111000 x 0.001406 = 156.066
16D
This is the fractional radiation entering the detector
Hence efficiency of the detector for the gamma source at a distance (D = 10 cm)

Efficiency (E) =

3.61
______
156.066

CPS
N
______
= ___
DPS
R

= 0.0231 = 2.31%

Note: CPS = Counts per Second


DPS = Disintegrations per Second falling on the window of the ditector.
(B) EXPERIMENT TO ESTIMATE EFFICIENCY FOR A BETA SOURCE
INTRODUCTION:
Equipment required & procedure remains the same as detailed under 5.2&5.3.
The only difference is, here we place Beta source about 2 cm close to the end window &
calculate 'Intrinsic efficiency', (which do not take geometry factor into consideration)
PROCEDURE:
Make standard arrangement & interconnections for G.M counting system, detector,
G.M stand.

Place Beta source close to End Window (approx 2cm from end window). Record
counts for a minute with and without source. Take three readings; take average of
them and tabulate.

Record distance of the source from end window.

Calculate the present day activity in DPS of the source (refer to procedure given at
the end of the manual).

Calculate net CPM/CPS counted.

Intrinsic efficiency can be calculated as the ratio between (CPM/DPM) x 100 or (CPS/
DPS) x 100. This will be efficiency of the end window detector for the given Beta
Source at that distance.

31

DATA COMPUTATION & ANALYSIS:


Beta source used

Sr-90

Activity (A0)

5.55 KBq (as on Aug 2006)

Activity (A)

5.373 KBq (as on Dec 2007)

Background count rate

57 CPM

Counts recorded with source (Average)

14427 CPM

Corrected counts

14370 CPM

Net count rate

239.5 CPS

(use procedure given on pages 13 & 14)

Efficiency (E) of the End window detector with Beta source (Sr-90) at 2.0 cm distance

CPS
E = _____
DPS

= 0.0446 = 4.46%

4.5 EXERCISE

By knowing the efficiency of the G.M. detector for a particular Gamma energy (at a
specified distance & geometry), one can further calculate the following parameters,
namely activity of the source as on the day of experimentation (of course it is assumed
that activity of the standard is known as on the date of manufacture), and also the
activity of the unknown source if any with the same energy.

It can be noticed that End Window detector will have much better efficiency for Beta
Source compared to a gamma source.

By knowing efficiency for a Beta source , if an unknown activity Beta source is kept
for counting one can calculate and find out its activity.

32

Exp: 5. TO STUDY DETERMINATION OF BETA PARTICLE RANGE AND MAXIMUM


ENERGY (BY HALF THICKNESS METHOD)
5.1 PURPOSE
To carry out the absorption studies on -rays with the aid of a GM Counter and hence to
determine the end point energy of -rays emitted from a radioactive source.
5.2 EQUIPMENT/ACCESSORIES REQUIRED

G.M Counting System 601A/602A with A.C main cord.

G.M Detector (End window) stand (or) G.M Detector/source holder bench

Radioactive source kit

Aluminium absorber set


5.3 PROCEDURE

Make standard connections and arrangement between G.M. Counting system,


detector, absorber and source.

Set the GM voltage at the operating voltage of the GM tube.

Without source, make a few (about 5 readings) background measurements and take
an average of them for a preset time of say 60 sec.

Compute Average background counts in 60sec (Ba = (b1+b2+b3+b4+b5) / 5).

Compute Background rate = Ba/t (t = 60sec).

Place a Beta source in the source tray at about 3 cm from the end window of the GM
tube.

Take the Aluminium absorber set.

Place an aluminium absorber of zero thickness in the absorber holder at about 2 cm


from the end window of the GM tube and record the counts.

The absorber thickness is increased in steps of 0.05mm and every time counts are
recorded.

This process is repeated until the count rate becomes equal to or less than half the
count rate with zero absorber thickness.

Data is to be collected for the standard source and the second source.

Here in this case the standard source is Tl - 204 and the second source is Sr - 90.

Tabulate the data as shown in table.

Density of Aluminium = 2.71g/cm3 (g/cm. cube).

The below data is taken with Thallium (Tl - 204)

33

Table : 1
Counting Time : 180 sec
Background : 146 counts

Absorber : Aluminium
Source : Tl-204 (4 KBq)

Absorber
Thickness (in mm)

Absorber Thickness
in mg/cm2

Counts

Net counts
(counts-BG)

0
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.40
0.45

0
13.55
27.10
40.65
54.20
67.75
81.30
94.85
108.40
121.95

2620
2003
1556
1293
1054
835
676
597
499
448

2474
1857
1410
1147
908
689
530
451
353
302

The below data is taken with Strontium (Sr90 - Y90)


Table : 2
Counting Time : 100 sec
Absorber : Aluminium
Background : 79 counts
Source : Sr-90
Absorber
Thickness (in mm)

Absorber Thickness
in mg/cm2

Counts

Net counts
(counts-BG)

0
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.40
0.45
0.50
0.55
0.60
0.65
0.70

0
13.55
27.10
40.65
54.20
67.75
81.30
94.85
108.40
121.95
135.50
149.05
162.60
176.15
189.70

5828
5130
4589
4252
3893
3618
3458
3189
3092
2877
2773
2612
2582
2367
2222

5749
5051
4510
4173
3814
3539
3379
3110
3013
2798
2694
2533
2503
2288
2143

34

Figure : 16

Figure : 17
35

5.4 ANALYSIS & COMPUTATIONS:


5.4.1 PRINCIPLE
The range of Beta particles is given by
R0 = (0.52 E0 - 0.09) g/cm2

-- (1)

Where E0 is the end point energy of of Beta rays from the radioactive source in MeV.
We have the ratio of thickness required to reduce the counts of Beta rays from one source
to half to the thickness required for the other source is given by

t1
___
=
t2

t1
____
=
t2

Range
of Beta rays from first source
_____________________________
Range of Beta rays from second source

R1
____
R2

-- (2)

5.4.2 EXERCISE

Subtract the background count rate from each measured count rate.

Plot a graph of Net countrate (CPS) Vs absorber thickness (mg/cm2) for both sources.

Draw the curve through these points as shown in Figures 16 & 17.

From the plotted graph extrapolate and obtain thickness of aluminium absorber
required to reduce the countrate of Thallium and Strontium Beta rays by half (t1 and
t2 ).

Substitute t1 and t2 in the above equation (2) and calculate the range of rays
(R2) from Sr90 source.

Once we know the R2, we can find out the energy (E2) of Sr90 from equation-1

36

5.4.3 For Thallium-204


End point energy of Tl-204

= 0.764 MeV

Range of 204Tl

= (0.52 E0 - 0.09) g/cm2


= (0.52 x 0.764 Mev - 0.09) g/cm2
= 0.30728 g/cm2

= R1

204

Thickness of Al absorber required to reduce the count rate of


34mg/cm square

Thickness of Al absorber required to reduce the count rate of Sr-90 by half t2 =


121mg/cm2

From Equation (2).

t1
___
t2

R1
___
R2
0.30728 X 121 X 10-3
_________________
34 X 10-3

R2 =

R1

t2
X _____ =
t1

R2

0.30728 X 121
_____________ = 1.09355 gm/cm2
34

End point energy of 90Sr/ 90Y

E2

E2

R2 + 0.09
= ___________
0.52

1.09355 + 0.09
______________

0.52

= 2.276 Mev

5.4.4 RESULT
End point energy of -rays from 90Sr = 2.28 MeV.

37

Tl by half, t1 =

Exp: 6. BACK SCATTERING OF BETA PARTICLES


6.1 INTRODUCTION
When Beta Particles collide with matter, absorption may occur. Another possible result is
the occurrence of scattering by collisions of Beta particles with electrons in the material.
Such a collision changes the speed and direction of the Beta particles. With increasing
atomic number Z of the material, the chance that a collision results in a scattering of the
Beta particle increases too. Back scattering occurs, when the angle of deflection is greater
than 90. The Back-scattering rate is predominately dependent on the atomic number Z of
the back scattering material. With an atom of high atomic number, the scattering occurs at
a large angle and with little loss of energy. The back scattering factor is approximately
proportional to the square root of atomic number. The mass per unit area (thickness x
density) or the thickness of the irradiated material only influence the back scattering factor
up to a saturation value. The maximum back scattering is practically attained at a mass
per unit area which is smaller than half the range of the Beta particle in the material, because
large layer thicknesses lead to absorption of the scattered electrons. The saturation value
is less than 200 mg/cm2 for all materials. This corresponds to a saturation larger thickness
of x < 0.74 mm for Aluminum and < 0.17 mm for Lead.

6.2 EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES REQUIRED


i. Electronic Unit
ii. Wide end window GM Detector (GM125)
iii. Absorber stand for Back scattering of Beta
iv. Absorber set (Beta particle scattering experiment)
v. Beta source (Sr-90)
Source
vi. Lead Block for Isolation

Scatterer

Detector
Lead Block
Schematic diagram

Fig. 18: Experimental setup


38

Lead Block
Scatterer

>
>

Detector
Source

>
>

Fig. 19 : Individual blocks of experiment setup

6.3 PROCEDURE
Make standard setup by connecting G.M. Counting System (GC602A) with G.M Detector
(GM125)
In this experimental setup, the detector, Beta source and scatterer stand with scatterer are
placed as shown in Fig.18.
A lead block is placed in between the Beta source and Detector, so that the detector does
not receive any direct radiation from the Beta source.
Switch ON the GC602A Electronic Unit and set the operating High voltage at 500V.
To start with, remove the scatterer stand and measure the counts for 200 secs.
Now place the scatterer stand and load Aluminum foil (scatterer) of thickness 0.05mm.
The apparatus is first set up to give maximum count rate by adjusting the source / detector
positions.
After doing this, record the counts for 200 secs. Then increase the thickness of the scatterer
in steps of 0.05mm by adding one foil to the previous scatterer, and observe the counts
each time for 200 secs. Tabulate the data.

39

6.4

EXPERIMENTAL DATA
Source
: Sr-90
Activity
: 0.1mCi
Preset Time : 200 secs.

Sl.No Material

6.5

Unit: GC602A
Detector: GM125
Sliding Bench

Thickness (mm)

Counts
Average
II

Net counts

Al

361

401

381

Al

0.05

621

645

633

252

Al

0.10

676

657

666.5

285.5

Al

0.15

789

737

763

382

Al

0.20

858

834

846

465

Al

0.25

1032

985

1008.5

627.5

Al

0.30

1107

1174

1140.5

759.5

Al

0.35

1250

1246

1248

867

Al

0.40

1226

1400

1313

932

10

Al

0.45

1508

1629

1568.5

1187.5

11

Al

0.50

1696

1707

1701.5

1320.5

12

Al

0.55

1708

1668

1688

1307

13

Al

0.60

1791

1699

1745

1364

14

Al

0.65

1798

1678

1738

1357

RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS


From the obtained results, it can be concluded that the counts due to Back scattering
increases upto certain thickness of the scattering material and almost remains constant
beyond that thickness. The thickness of the scatterer, where the counts reach their
maximum is called the Saturation thickness.

40

Exp 7 : PRODUCTION AND ATTENUATION OF BREMSSTRAHLUNG


7.1 INTRODUCTION
Bremsstrahlung is electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged
particle when deflected by another charged partice, typically an electron by an atomic
nucleus. The moving particle loses kinetic energy, which is converted into a photon because energy is conserved. The term is also used to refer to the process of producing the
radiation. Bremsstrahlung has a continuous spectrum which becomes more intense and
whose intensity shifts toward higher frequencies as the change of the energy of the accelerated particles increases.
Beta particle emitting substances sometimes exhibit a weak radiation with continuous
spectrum that is due to Bremsstrahlung. In this context, Bremsstrahlung is a type of secondary radiation, in that it is produced as a result of stopping (or slowing) the primary
radiation (Beta particles). It is very similar to x-rays produced by bombarding metal targets with electrons in X-ray machines.
The amount of Bremsstrahlung increases as the atomic number/density of the absorbing
material goes up. If the mass per unit area (thickness X density) of the plates used as
absorbers is such that the beta particles are completely absorbed, then for materials of
higher atomic number/density, correspondingly higher bremsstrahlung count rates are
obtained.
7.2 EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES REQUIRED
Electronic Unit (GC 602A )
G.M Detector (GM125)
G.M. Detector Holder
Sliding Bench
Source Holder
Absorber Holder for Bremsstrahlung experiment
Beta Source (Sr-90)
Al (0.7mm), Cu (0.3mm) & Perspex (1.8mm) absorber set

Detector holder

Electronic Unit (GC602A)

Absorber holder
Source holder

Fig. 20: Expermental setup


41

7.3 PROCEDURE
Make standard setup by connecting G.M Counting system GC602A with G.M Detector
(GM125) placed in the optical bench as shown in Fig.20 above. The GM Detector, Absorber
and the Source are mounted as shown in Fig.20.
Switch ON the GC602A Electronic Unit and set the operating High Voltage at 500V.
An absorber consisting of two materials with widely different atomic numbers, say, Perspex
(1.8mm thick) and Aluminum (0.7 mm thick) is used and the count rate is measured with
the absorber and then with the absorber reversed.
The absorber thickness must be such that each sheet of absorbent material has about the
same mass per unit area.
The experiment is conducted with following three combinations of materials
i. Al (0.7mm) & Perspex (1.8mm)
ii. Perspex (1.8mm) & Cu (0.3mm)
iii. Al (0.7mm) & Cu (0.3mm)
7.4 EXPERIMENTAL DATA & RESULTS
Source
: Sr-90
Distance between source and detector : 6cms
Activity
: 0.1mCi
Preset Time : 300Sec
BG : 1065 counts
For Al (0.7mm) & Perspex (1.8mm) combination:
S.No
Absorber position
Counts
Net Counts
1
40342
39277
2
Perspex facing source
6400
5335
3
Al. facing source
9122
8057
For Perspex (1.8mm) & Cu (0.3mm) combination:
S.No
Absorber position
Counts
Net Counts
1
40342
39277
2
Cu facing source
4749
3681
3
Perspex facing source
4183
3118
For Al (1.8mm) & Cu (0.3mm) combination:
S.No
1
2
3

Absorber position
Al facing source
Cu facing source

Counts
40342
5100
5858

Net Counts
39277
4035
4793

7.5 RESULT & CONCLUSIONS


The count rate for the bremsstrahlung produced depends on the order in which the
absorbent materials are arranged. If, firstly, the sheet of metal faces towards the source,
then a higher count rate is measured since bremsstraulung is generated in the aluminium
but is absorbed to a very small extent in the sheet of Perspex which follows.If, however,
the beta rays first strike the sheet of plastic, then the bremsstrahlung generated is of low
energy and a large proportion of it is absorbed in the sheet of metal which follows.
These conclusions can be extended to other combinations of materials also.
42

Exp: 8. MEASUREMENT OF SHORT HALF-LIFE


8.1 PURPOSE
To determine short half-life of a given source, which can be obtained from a mini generator
or produced with a neutron source by activation.
8.2 EQUIPMENT/ACCESSORIES REQUIRED
G.M. Counting system
Type: GC 601A/GC602A
G.M. Stand
Type: SG 200
End window G.M. detector
Type: GM 120
Short Half life source (Neutron activated Indium foil or Cs-137/Ba-137m isotope generator,
flask with eluting solution for generator)
8.3 PROCEDURE
An Am-Be neutron source of strength of about 5Ci is in the Neutron Howitzer. The maximum
thermal neutron flux produced by this neutron source is about 4 x 104 n/cm2-sec.

Irradiate the given indium foil for about 12 hours by placing it in appropriate position
in the Neutron Howitzer (normally at the centre of the column).

Apply the required operating voltage for the GM tube.

Place the irradiated indium foil under the window of the GM tube at a convenient
distance (1 cm) in order to get a good number of counts per second.

Collect the counts for every 5 minutes for at least one hour.

Note down the back ground count rate for 5 minutes, before and after the experiment
in order to subtract from the observed counts and record your observations as shown
in the Table below.

Determine the count rate (N) for each interval of 300 seconds (5 minutes).

Plot graph of log of the count rate (log N) versus time (minutes)

It will be a straight line as shown below.

dy
Slope = _____ = decay constant
dx

dy

Log (N)

dx

Time (t) in min

43

0.693
T 1/2 = _____ sec

Find the slope of the straight line graph using the least square fit methods (use the
formula)
m = (nxy - xy) / (nx2 - (x)2)
to determine the slope of the graph which gives the value of the decay constant.
Where n = number of observations
x = time interval, y = Log N

OBSERVATIONS
S.No.

Elapsed
Time

Duration
(min)

Counts
Reading

Corrected
counts / min

Log (N)

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

300
600
900
1200
1500
1800
2100
2400
2700
3000
3300
3600

5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60

1355
2660
3862
5006
6047
7103
8138
9043
9923
10750
11593
12348

252.6
247.6
239.06
231.9
223.48
218.36
214.11
207.67
202.11
196.6
192.38
187.4

5.54
5.50
5.47
5.44
5.40
5.38
5.36
5.33
5.31
5.28
5.26
5.23

Background = 92/5 min = 18.4/min

Fig.22 : Half-life of Indium Foil

44

8.4 ANALYSIS AND COMPUTATIONS


Intensity of radioactive source changes with time in accordance with relation
I = Io e t ----- (1)
is the decay constant,
I is the intensity at any time t and Io is initial intensity.
The T1/2 by definition is the time required for the intensity to fall to one half of its initial value.
Hence from equation (1) we have
In (I/I0) = - T
In (0.5) = - T
0.693
____
= T

Where T1/2 is half - life.


The above equation can be written as
0.693
= _____
T1/2
Given the value of T1/2, one can calculate the value of .

8.5 HALF LIFE DETERMINATION:


The Log is actually natural Log and should be denoted by In.
8.5 EXERCISE

Subtract the background countrate from each measured countrate.

Plot a graph of In (N) vs. elapsed time (min).

This should give a straight line graph.

From the plotted graph extrapolate and obtain T1/2

Substitute T1/2 in the above equation to calculate the decay constant

45

C.

EXPERIMENTS
RADIONUCLIDES

ILLUSTRATING

APPLICATIONS

OF

9.

DEMONSTRATION OF NUCELONIC LEVEL GAUGE PRINCIPLE USING G.M.


COUNTING SYSTEM & DETECTOR
This experiment has been designed/ suggested for engineering streams (Mechanical /
Metallurgical / Instrumentation/ Electronics & Instrumentation / Chemical Engineering
streams (for illustrating Nucleonic level gauge principle)

9.1 INTRODUCTION & PRINCIPLE


Nucleonic level gauging is a very popular technique used in petrochemical, steel, cement,
& other process industries where liquid / sludge / solid material levels in the reactor vessels
/ smelting furnaces are to be detected, once it reaches certain levels by indirect methods.
This technique using G.M. Detector involves placing of a radioactive source at the required
height where it is to be measured. It is shielded all around & opening is provided as a
collimated beam in the required direction for measurement. A G.M. detector is placed
exactly on opposite side outside the reactor vessel such that it sees the collimated beam
of radiation. Once the liquid/solid/material level reaches this height there will be change in
the count rate. With material not being filled in the reactor vessel to the required level the
count rate will be higher, initially. Once the material level reaches the level where it interrupts
the source/ detector beam the count rate changes abruptly. This change can be detected
and an alarm or relay contact could be activated.
9.2 DEMONSTRATION OF THIS PRINCIPLE IN LAB
9.3 ITEMS REQUIRED

G.M. Counting System with A.C. Mains cord

G.M. detector with holder & long connecting cable of 2 metres.

A 3 PVC pipe with one end closed and other end open.

Gamma source (2 Ci Approx.)

Fig. 23 : G. M Counting system with sand filled PVC column, detector & source
arrangement
46

9.4 PROCEDURE
Typical arrangement is shown in the Fig. 23.

Fill the PVC tube with sand, to half height (approx.)

Mount the detector in the special enclosure given and connect it with cable to the
counting system (as shown in Fig.23).

Switch on the G.M. Counting System and select acquisition mode to be 'CPS / CPM'
mode

Now place a gamma source along the length (ht) of the PVC tube (which is kept
vertically in standing position) and exactly diagonally opposite side, place the detector
horizontally (window facing the PVC pipe)

Now observe the count rate, on the instrument and record the observations for each
ht (in steps of 1cm) or 15mm or as required.

Ht. vs CPS data may be recorded till sand filled level is crossed.

At the level of crossing the sand level, you will find noticeable change in count rate.

From the above observation, it can be confirmed that this is the ht/ level to which
material is filled. Electronic circuits can be modified in the G.M. Counting System to
detect this transition in count rate , and alarm or relay contact can be activated at this
level.

The above experiment illustrates the principle of Nucleonic level gauge.

To predict correct accurate level one can open a small narrow window of 2mm/ 3mm
on the detector & cover the rest of the window of the detector by a lead disc (5mm
thick, with 2mm central hole and 1 dia in size) to cover the face of the detector.

47

10. BEAM INTERRUPTION DETECTION SYSTEMS


10.1 INTRODUCTION & PRINCIPLE
With narrow beam of source, G.M. detector and electronic counting system having preset
alarm facility, one can illustrate how changes in count rate observed when a bulk material
passes and interrupts the beam.
There are a variety of applications in process/ manufacturing industry, where this technique
could be used. Some of these include:

Liquid fill height level for beverages, soups, pharmaceutical products, baby foods,
Match boxes, yogurt cartons etc.
For sorting or counting items in a process or pharmaceutical industry etc.

10.2 DEMONSTRATION OF THIS PRINCIPLE IN LAB


10.3 ITEMS REQUIRED

G.M. counting system GC601A/GC602 A with A.C power cord


G.M. detector with stand or bench
Radioactive source 'beta'
A set of 4/5 coins fixed with adhesive and spaced equidistance on a thin Perspex
sheet.

Fig. 24 : G. M. Counting System detector, source & perspex sheet fixed with coins
arrangement for source beam interruption experiment.

48

10.4 PROCEDURE

Make standard interconnections, for the counting system's functionality.

Switch on the system and operate in CPS mode.

Place gamma source in the source holder and ensure to have a distance of atleast 2cm between the end window of the detector and gamma source holder.

Now place this Perspex sheet affixed with coins to interrupt the source detector beam.

On each interruption by a coin and without coin interruption (i.e. with only Perspex
sheet), record the count rate changes and tabulate them.

One can pre-set alarm level (if available as a feature in the counting system) such
that on each change over of count rate, one can see annunciation of aural/ visual
alarm on the electronic counting unit.

10.5 CONCLUSIONS
Using this principle, number of real time applications in a process industry could be
developed or implemented for inspection, checking the fill of the items and counting number
of items under process.

49